When anyone thinks of racing, they immediately think of a group of competitors battling for position to see who can come in first place.
It’s a pretty straight forward concept that Codemasters’ latest title Onrush throws right out the window.
Although it’s technically a racing game, Onrush is nothing like what you’d expect. Where you finish doesn’t matter because there is no finish line. Instead, it’s up to players to work together with their teammates to complete certain objectives, while also taking out their opponents, in order to win a game.
The game features four game modes — Overdrive, Switch, Countdown, and Lockdown — that each have a personality of their own while also incorporating the things that make Onrush enjoyable. From trying to control a moving point in Lockdown to just getting the most points by boosting and taking out your opponents in Overdrive, there’s enough diversity between the modes to keep you entertained for hours.
There is a single player that may not be as fun as the game’s online experience, but it does an fantastic job of helping players learn the nuances of each vehicle within the game. It can even help you figure out the best way to approach certain modes once you do take the action online. As of writing this review, online only features quick play and custom games, but a ranked mode is coming in the near future.
Adding to Onrush’s fun-level is the fact that it’s simple enough for anyone to pick up and dive right into the action, but is complicated enough that it will take time for players to perfect their skills on the tracks. Handling each vehicle feels unique with the motorcycles and smaller four-wheeled cars feeling like completely different machines than the big titans of the game.
On the course, Onrush is all about boosting. Getting air off jumps or taking out AI controlled “fodder vehicles” and opponents fills up your boost meter, allowing you to fly across the map. Boost enough and a drivers “Rush” meter fills. A player’s “Rush” meter acts as the equivalent to an arena game’s ultimate ability.
Each vehicle class comes with different focuses and abilities that add to the strategy of the decision during the race. You may find yourself wanting to play more of a support role with the Titan class and its shield ability. Or you may just want to be a juggernaut that takes out everyone in your path making the Charger class more your type. Should you not like a vehicle choice, you can always choose one of the other eight classes after you get wrecked.
Speaking of wrecks, any fan of the Burnout franchise will immediately fall in love with how crashes are presented in Onrush. The camera slows down an turns back to focus on the wreck before showing a replay of how you got absolutely destroyed by that tree or boulder or that opponent that landed directly on top of you.
The game doesn’t allow less experienced or skilled players to fall behind as it will warp you right into the heart of the action if you fall too far behind the pack. This is something that not many racing games do, but, when you’re not a real racing game, you have the luxury of keeping the action going.
Visually, Onrush’s courses are massive with so many incredible looking areas to explore during a match. But for as great as the courses are, they can be just as dangerous if you aren’t paying attention on the track.
Loot boxes are part of the experience, but it’s not too overwhelming to turn you away. That said, I’d just rather see them not be a part of the game in any way. There’s also a few small, but annoying, problems with the game that need to be addressed in a future update.
The first is the fact that it can be tough to tell your opponents apart from your teammates. The team’s are split into blue and orange, but the colors of the vehicles can sometimes lead you to thinking that someone is a teammate despite being an enemy. Another peeve within the game are the unskippable kill cams after you get wrecked. Rather than being able to go right into the vehicle selection screen, you’re forced to watch your demise in a slow motion clip that makes it seem like the game is taunting you.
You’ll see it everywhere. People are going to call Onrush the Overwatch of racing games. And while it’s going to get tiring hearing that, it’s hard to dispute that fact. The game is chaotic without being overwhelming. Anyone can play it and nearly everyone can find success in some way.
It’s a one-of-a-kind experience that adds freshness to a market that desperately needed it. The vehicle abilities, awe-inspiring crashes, and the over-the-top action make Onrush a must play for anyone who enjoys racing games. Hell, even if driving games aren’t your cup of tea, Onrush is one cup that everyone should try.
*Onrush is available now for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. A PC version of the game is coming later this year. SGO was provided a copy of the game for PS4 for the purposes of this review*
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